The Tea Party and Questions about Racism

I want people to understand that the Tea Party is not a “party” in the sense of the Democratic or Republican parties. The Tea Party is still a large and growing movement of conservatives, moderates, and even some liberals of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities who are dissatisfied with politics as usual. The Tea Party’s dominant “membership” supports smaller government, embraces individual responsibility, loves low taxes, advocates for a strong defense, and longs for a return to the days when we truly cherished the Constitution. Of course, there are racist people in the Tea Party—we have witnessed a number of signs to indicate this. It is, however, unfair to characterize the Tea Party as racist. Just because a small percentage of people associated with the Tea Party resort to using racist signs, it is silly to call the Tea Party racist for the actions of these people.

I know people associated with the NAACP who admit that they hate White people, but should I call the NAACP a racist organization? Would it be useful to examine the racism of the membership of the NAACP? No. I would like to see the same courtesy extended to both organizations. Revolutionary Paideia does not endorse either organization. Revolutionary Paideia appreciates the important role that the NAACP played and continues to play in the fight for equality, justice, and freedom. Revolutionary Paideia also appreciates the Tea Party for its active participation in the political process. For me, it is great to see such zealous political participation in America.

Although I love the passion that I see from Tea Party members, I do not support the racism of some of the members of this organization. I would like for the leaders of the Tea Party to be much more public and vocal about their opposition to racism, and to explaining efforts that they are making to keep people away from Tea Party rallies, meetings, and conventions who create signs that are racist. I know many Tea Party members—all of which are White and I’m African-American—and they do not have a racist bone in their bodies.

Much of the racist charges directed at the Tea Party emerge from a grand strategy to attempt to weaken the success of the Tea Party movement. I contend that many Democratic leaders are trying to charge this organization with racism to attempt to divert attention away from the message of change that the Tea Party offers. When one listens to much of what Tea Party members have to say across the country, the individual can find that they have some serious ideas about how to improve America, and one will find that this is not simply a group that hates President Obama.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thankful for Oprah Winfrey

English: Oprah Winfrey when she was with Barac...

Although there is a tremendous amount of negativity everywhere about Oprah Winfrey, I decided to take a few moments and compose some thoughts about this great woman with a beautiful spirit. It seems like everyone has some kind of opinion about Oprah. I have one also but elect to have a positive opinion about her. Regardless of whether you like her or not, her “rags to riches” story represents the quintessential American success narrative. Oprah makes me proud each time that I see her. Her life informs us that miracles can happen and that one can overcome experiencing severe traumas.

When some African-Americans say that Oprah is not a “real Black woman,” it makes me so angry because they overlook the meaningful contributions she has made to Black people, including giving millions of dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the reality that she played a significant role in the election of Barack Obama, the first Black President of the U.S. NAACP put her in its Hall of Fame. I listen to her acceptance speech of the NAACP Hall of Fame award every morning before I leave home. It’s so inspiring. If you have not listened to it, then you should search for it on YouTube. You will be so glad that you did. To the Black people who question Oprah’s authenticity, please stop this and recognize the love this woman has for Black people and everyone else too.

I love how Oprah has become more and more open about her personal relationship with Jesus. On her shows, she will not hesitate to mention how much she loves Jesus or to suggest Jesus as a means of helping people to deal with difficult issues and problems. I really appreciate her transparency about her love of Jesus on and off of her show. Her love of Jesus is one of the fundamental reasons why she has been successful. This love of Jesus is evident through her tremendously giving spirit. She is not a billionaire who keeps all of her money to herself—she shares her money with others in a meaningful way. Oprah, you will be continuously blessed for giving to people so freely as you do.

When people say that Oprah and Gayle, her bestfriend, are involved in a lesbian relationship, it makes me angry. Calling Oprah a lesbian just because she has a true friendship with Gayle suggests that such a relationship can only emerge from a sexually intimate relationship. This is such limited thinking. Although this is such limited thinking, many people engage in this limited thinking when it comes to Oprah’s friendship with Gayle. Grow up people! Move beyond the superficial and move toward the substantial. The haters of the true friendship Oprah has with Gayle simply long to have a friendship like the one they have.

Oprah deserves your support and appreciation for the great things she has done for so many people. Today, Oprah, I salute you for being a great American and electing to be such a compassionate woman. I look forward to the many great things you will do in the future.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison